Saturday, April 1st, 2017, the Tour and Activity Plan process was discontinued following a cross-functional team’s evaluation of the BSA’s Tour and Activity Plan. While the process is discontinued the program of the BSA hasn’t changed; no requirements were changed, just a process was terminated.
As part of the announcement, BSA released a Tour and Activity Plan Terminated FAQ that provides answers to the questions most anticipated by people using the tool regarding the rationale and process for the termination. In that FAQ they stated:
“The Scouting program, as contained in our handbooks and literature, inherently integrates safety considerations. However, no policy or procedure will replace the review and vigilance of trusted adults and leaders at the point of program execution.”
The elimination of the plan itself cuts back on paperwork and processes for unit leaders and committees. While reducing complexity, it in no way way reduces our commitment to safety. They said we expect an, “increase consistency with the Commitment to Safety, the Guide to Safe Scouting, Risk Assessment Strategy, as well as Camp Standards planning tools.” However this changes ” the conversation, engaging everyone in risk-based planning” rather that just going through the process.
Without the process or Tour and Activity Plan document, Scouters will need to be more diligent in conducting, “the Scouting program consistent with BSA rules, regulations, and policies.” That means knowing what those regulations are—they are summarized in the Guide to Safe Scouting and the Enterprise Risk Management Guidebook mentioned above.
For many, the crutch of the plan seems hard to abandon, but having a plan is still part of “Be Prepared;” it is integral in our handbooks and program literature. In that literature, you will find safety features just as they have always been. The whole idea is to use planning tools like Safety Checklists, The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety, and Flying Plan as outlines for safety discussions and conversations about risks.
However, the program hasn’t changed. For example, permission from parents is still needed to take youth on a trip, and program requirements for annual health and medical records for all participants remain consistent. The Cub Scouts camping program is still limited to council approved locations, and so on.
Based on initial feedback, many questions have arisen on insurance, but BSA said: “The elimination of the tour and activity plan was not driven by insurance, or the many myths” and misconceptions including things like having to file a Tour and Activity Plan or be in a field uniform to have insurance. In addition, they said:
“…volunteers are provided primary general liability insurance coverage for official scouting activities* except when using an automobile or watercraft. A volunteer’s (whether registered or not) automobile liability insurance is primary with the local council automobile policy providing excess automobile coverage. Non-registered volunteers are provided excess general liability and automobile liability insurance coverage for official scouting activities. There is not a requirement to fill out a form for coverage.”
*An official Scouting activity is defined in the insurance policy as consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, the operations manuals, and applicable literature of the Boy Scouts of America.